Granby " Middle Park snowpack mostly well above average |

Granby " Middle Park snowpack mostly well above average

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Matt Barnes took the March 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of February, when the monthly precipitation was about 140 percent of average.

Snowpack in the high-elevation mountains above Middle Park now ranges from 96 percent to 133 percent of the 30-year average. This is similar to 2006, when it was 102 percent to 144 percent of average, and more than last year when it was 77 percent to 121 percent of average on March 1.

Snowpack at the lower elevations in Middle Park is well above average, as anyone who has been plowing or shoveling snow, or feeding livestock, can attest.

Snow density is averaging 27 percent, which means that for a foot of snow there are 3.2 inches of water.

In Colorado, the northern basins are above average, and the southern basins are substantially above average. Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are as follows:

– The upper Colorado River Basin averages 129 percent

– Gunnison River Basin, 146 percent

– South Platte River Basin, 111 percent

– Yampa and White River Basins, 112 percent

– Arkansas River Basin, 160 percent

– Upper Rio Grande Basin, 165 percent

– San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 159 percent

– Laramie and North Platte River Basins, 111 percent

Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s.

Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April. March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of Colorado’s high country snowpack peaks around that time.

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